Research has shown that the simple act of being outdoors can help children with concentration and learning. So why aren’t kids outside more?
“New research by The Countryside Alliance Foundation (TCAF) shows a strong demand for outdoor learning amongst parents, with 91 per cent wanting the countryside to play a greater role in their children’s education and 92 per cent thinking that their child would benefit from being given hands-on tuition in the countryside. Interestingly, these very same parents also tell us that they believe that one of the biggest barriers to getting children out of the classroom is the red-tape and health and safety fears.
“The benefits can be immense. Outdoor education helps children gain a practical understanding of the world around them; builds self confidence; tests their abilities; enables them to take managed risks: and develops a sense of responsibility and tolerance towards places and people.
“Outdoor learning can also help children and young people understand subjects like maths or science through real world examples and first-hand experience. While academic achievement is important, outdoor education can play a significant role helping pupils develop soft skills like good communication, team work and leadership; all of which are essential to the well-rounded education that is vital for life beyond the classroom.”
It appears as though I’m not the only one concerned about kids not getting outside to play these days. Here are a bunch of articles that, in some ways, are pretty depressing yet in others downright exciting!
The Times Herald – Whatever happened to go out and play?
Huffington Post – What the city could be doing to a child’s psyche
Environment News Service – ADHD Symptoms Milder After Green Space Playtime
Yorkshire Post – Call to take classes to countryside
China Daily – Children take a walk on nature’s wild side
New York Times – On Outdoor Experience and Environmental Values
Care 2 Make a Difference – 5 Reasons Children Need Time To Play At School
Public News Service – Children Getting Less Sleep Due to Electronic Media
Remember all those bits of wisdom that were drummed into your head when you were a kid? Things like
- You’ll get warts if you touch a toad
- If you touch a baby bird it’s mother will abandon it
- You’ll get cramps and drown if you don’t wait an hour after eating to go swimming
Here, the National Wildlife Federation debunks those myths! Get out there and play!
Looking for help in figuring out ways to get your kids outside? Look no farther. The National Wildlife Federation has a great resource in their Be Out There program.
Head over there and take a look – you’re sure to find at least a few helpful tidbits of wisdom.
Remember how it was when we were kids? Mom kicked us out of the house and made us go out and play in the sunshine.Somehow, she knew it was good for us.
Now, research has actually proven that. Many studies have shown a direct link between time in the great outdoors and increased obesity, depression, stress, diabetes, ADD and poor performance in the classroom. Now, they’ve found a correlation to sleeping.
“To get a good night’s sleep they need natural sleep-inducing light during the day, the soothing effects of more natural, outdoor scenes and enhanced exercise from outdoor play.”
Hmmm… I think it’s time to go outside and play.
Looking for something to watch? How about “Mother Nature’s Child: Growing Outdoors in the Media Age”? This documentary demonstrates that nature is an essential part of the learning process.
“The documentary makes note that children who are allowed to play in a natural setting are far more likely to invent their own games and make connections.”
“In more general terms, outdoor education has many lasting benefits. “Research indicates that the use of greenspace or ‘green exercise’ improves health. In particular, learning outdoors generally results in increased levels of physical activity. In addition, interacting with greenspace (walking, gardening, etc) improves emotional wellbeing and mental health.” Outdoor education thus makes for more active children, healthier children, happier children. This is the obvious impact, but more than that it offers an opportunity to engage with the natural world, and a very different environment from that at normal child care centres.”